Review by Lucas
= Highest Rating
displayed on the front of Blue Underground's release
of this 1967 Italian heist caper is a quote from
Roger Ebert: "One of the best heist movies!"
Other reviews echo similar sentiments. I'm wondering
if I missed something... Grand
Slam, while attractive to look at, is something
of a plodding would-be thriller with little to
recommend it other than a smashing cast that includes
Edward G. Robinson, Janet Leigh, and the always-frenetic
Klaus Kinski. It's neither grand, nor a slam-dunk
for the participants. Okay, enough of the bad,
obvious puns, and on to the review...
schoolteacher, James Anders (Robinson), travels
from Rio de Janeiro to New York to visit an old
childhood friend, wealthy underworld kingpin Mark
Adolfo Celi, in what amounts to a glorified cameo).
Anders proposition: help him heist $10 million
in diamonds stashed across the street from his
former school. In Mission: Impossible fashion,
Milford selects four operatives, three experts
to crack the safe housing the diamonds, and a
ladies' man to seduce Mary Ann Davis (Psycho's
Janet Leigh), a diamond exchange employee who
holds the key to the vault. While the safecrackers
practice getting around the Grand Slam 70 —
a highly sensitive
alarm system that registers the slightest noise
Paul (Spasmo's Robert
Hoffman) tries, unsuccessfully at first, to woo
Mary Anne. Set against the colorful backdrop of
Carnivale, our thieves try to infiltrate the vault
using a host of fun-looking gadgets (though what
each one does is a mystery).
something missing in Grand
Slam. Perhaps I'm jaded by decades of this
sort of film, but Grand
Slam offers none of that catch-your-breath
excitement that similar films do, nor the hey!-look-who-that-is
stunt casting that makes films like Ocean's
Eleven memorable. Even when the thieves
are sliding across rooftops with Carnivale goers
celebrating beneath them, there's little excitement.
Perhaps some background music, other than the
more natural sounds of the festival, might have
helped to inject some much-needed tension into
the proceedings. (I found that, when humming the
M:I theme, sequences moved by much faster).
Edward G. Robinson's role is minimal; like Celi,
it's practically a cameo.
Kinski gives his usual over-the-top performance,
easily overacting everyone else. I will say this,
there's a neat-o surprise ending (part of it,
unfortunately, revealed by Blue Underground's
choice of photograph for the DVD insert card).
my reception of Grand Slam
is, at best, lukewarm, fans will enjoy Blue Underground's
presentation. The print used here is beautiful —
although there's some grain at times, colors are
vibrant and lush. Sometimes it almost looks new.
Audio quality is fine. Extras are a bit sparse;
there's a really long trailer which gives away most
of the movie, and a nice photo gallery.
Blue Underground briefly withdrew this DVD in
2003, then reissued it in February 2004.